Let’s Turn This Ship Around!

Who thinks Archbishop Cordileone is awesome? This girl! Well, me and all of the faithful Catholics in the United States! Here’s his latest effort to turn the ship away from the iceberg before it is sunk. Sadly, the elitist 100 Prominent Catholics ™ and their ilk are going to be none to happy about this one. This is from the from September 11, 2015 issue of Catholic San Francisco’s High School Information Booklet.  See: http://catholic-sf.org/ns.php?newsid=4&id=63807

For Catholics each child has a human nature, that is, a body tightly linked to a soul. Every child has the same basic organs – heart, skin, bones, brain, etc. The soul, however, is unique to each child, in part because it is what makes Mary Jane distinct from Mary Lou. Children have capabilities that can be developed in a variety of ways. Some skills will develop pretty much just by social interaction. For others, such as reading, writing, making rhymes, or learning about nature, children have to be challenged and cajoled in order to reach high levels of performance.

Does this sound familiar to you? If you’re a Catholic who studies the Faith, it should, but those protesting Archbishop Cordileone might not be so sure. I’m also sure the “Concerned Parents and Teachers” will be foaming at the mouth against the Archbishop without knowing they’re really railing, once again, against the Catechism (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P1B.HTM).

The body, as God created it, is linked to the soul, but that is being challenged by dissenters at every turn lately. It seems that society is just fine tearing apart the body and the soul and putting them at odds with each other.

Catholic schools challenge students in two ways. First, as is the case for all schools – public or private – each teacher helps students “stretch their academic capabilities.” That is, the teacher uses different motivations to help a student find satisfaction in high accomplishment: Writing more complex sentences, reading more challenging books, memorizing poems, or doing mathematics in one’s head, not only on paper. All teachers do that.

In a Catholic school, the teacher also challenges the student to develop a relationship with God, the source of his or her human nature. The Catholic school teacher knows the child has a soul which the Holy Spirit can guide and foster a love for Christ and others. The closer the child moves to Christ and develops as a student, the more the student becomes like Christ, the new Adam, the new person who lets Christ lead the child to loving others and great academic accomplishments.

Woot! He’s kind enough to say the “Catholic school teacher knows” the child has a soul, but in reality, a good chunk of them don’t seem to think the soul is a priority. They teach the children to BECOME their sin instead of encouraging them to rightly form their conscience so they become more Christ-centered and less “me centered.”

I know he’s hoping and praying they eventually get it, for their sakes and for the sake of their students. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had entire schools with this mission? That’s what it used to be and what it’s always supposed to have been.

In Catholic schools, the goal includes not only excellence in reading, writing, and math but also growth in talking to Christ and letting Christ lead the child to full human development. In short, teachers in Catholic schools show students how to accept grace and love from Christ in their lives.

Amen, Your Excellency, amen! Let the real education begin! These goals are what are most important in this temporary life to gain everlasting life!

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Understanding: When Did That Become a Bad Thing?

This. Is. Amazing! (http://bit.ly/2bRU34T) The title is mistaken at best or maybe downright disingenuous: “Here Is The Loyalty Pledge Philly Catholic Schools Are Making Parents Sign.” Interestingly enough, the document already had a title: “Memorandum of Understanding”.  Of course, they had to change the title because it doesn’t fit the narrative they’ve got going for Archbishop Chaput.

One has to ask, why doesn’t Philly Magazine think it’s a good thing for parents sending their kids to a Catholic school to understand what the schools are all about? If I were the Archbishop, I would want people to understand that. Why would anyone have a problem with it? Nobody is “making” anyone sign the document. People are free to attend a Catholic school, and they are free not to. No guns to anyone’s head. That said, if they are going to attend, they darn well better be prepared to adhere to the rules of a Catholic school and support the Catholic identity of said school. After all, it’s not a Protestant school. It’s not a Muslim school. It’s a Catholic school, for goodness sake.

The key is really in the very last line of the memo. We know that Catholic schools accept families of different faiths. The Catholic Church doesn’t expect them to convert to attend the school. However, they do expect them to:

… pledge support for the Catholic identity and mission of this school and by enrolling my child I commit myself to uphold all principles and policies that govern the Catholic School.

Let’s go over that again. The Church expects them to support the fact that it’s a Catholic school. Duh! If you don’t want to respect this fact, what should you do?  How about finding a school that doesn’t make you uncomfortable?  It also asks them to uphold the principles and policies that govern the school. Again, if you can’t do that, why the heck would you want them there anyway? I mean, it’s a little crazy to say, “I hate the teachings of the Church, therefore I’m going to put them in a Catholic school,” isn’t it?!? It’s a whole other thing to say “Well, I don’t agree with all of the teachings of the Catholic Church, but I respect the right of the school to teach Catholicism by word and deed.” What sane person would expect any less?

I think this would be a lovely thing for the Catholic schools in the Bay Area! Maybe Archbishop Cordileone could insert this somewhere in a parental handbook but the teachers should have something similar.  I’m reasonably sure the “Concerned Parents” crowd would be none too pleased. They would probably decry it as draconian to ask them to say they understand it’s a Catholic school and that they will not try to undermine that. Oh, the horrors!

Of Handbooks and Contracts

It seems there might be a tad bit of confusion in both the mainstream and Catholic media about the flap over the teachers in the four archdiocesan high schools, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to clarify some things. First, there are two different documents that were in play. One has been signed, sealed and delivered, and the other is still a work in progress. The first was the teacher contract which was just signed last week. The vast majority of this document had to do with labor issues, not morality, but there was a preamble that dealt with the overarching topic of the schools’ Catholic identities and the teachers’ need to not screw that up. The second document is the teachers’ handbook, which is still being developed. That was the document that carried the mean old words from the catechism of “gravely evil” to which so many teachers balked. It’s really not that surprising that there is some confusion, though, because most dioceses don’t deal with teachers’ unions. For some reason, though, the Archdiocese of San Francisco years ago decided to put a union between itself and their teachers.

Please check out the last version of the handbook dated March 29, 2015 (http://www.donotlink.com/ggu3). “Gravely evil” and “ministers” were removed. “Gravely evil” was being heavily mischaracterized by those against Archbishop Cordileone. Time and again the students and the media were told that the Archbishop was calling PEOPLE gravely evil instead of the sins addressed. So, what really does this handbook say? Here we go:

1) Teachers cooperate in the mission of the Church for Catholic Schools.

2) Teachers teach by example.

3) The Church cannot err in Faith and Morals. In other words, if you are going against her, you are wrong.

4) You cannot receive Communion while in mortal sin. You cannot receive while consciously living or attached to that sin. (Situation ethics don’t apply here).

5) Catholic teachers (and the rest of us) are obliged to attend Mass on all Sundays and Holy Days. (That this has to be said shows how bad the situation is.)

6) Marriage is between a man and a woman, and children have a right to their biological mothers and fathers.

7) The male-only priesthood is a doctrine of the Church.

8) You need a well-formed conscience. In other words, you don’t understand the teachings of the Church on the “primacy on conscience.” It’s definitely not, “My conscience supersedes the doctrines of the Church.”

9) All human beings are precious, whether you can see them or not, or whether you consider them to be a human being. (That includes all “gender identities” and those of us who accept our genders as they are would say “Duh!”) They are human from conception to natural death. (So no abortion and no euthanasia.)

11) All of God’s children are called to chastity. Contrary to popular belief, that includes homosexuals, heterosexuals, married, single, or any other bizarre “gender identity” or status you can come up with.

12) The Church believes in the rights of workers, which is why, ironically, it’s quite silly that we even need a teachers’ union in the first place.

13) The Church cares for the poor.

14) We have freedom of religion.

15) All should have a personal relationship with God. We don’t create Him to be what we want Him to be, but we meet Him with humility through prayer and the Sacraments.

That about sums up the handbook. This was the document that had the meat of Catholic teaching in it, not the teachers’ contract. The contract just pointed to Church teaching. It would be soooo nice if a bishop could say “You must follow the teachings of the Church.” Sadly, we’ve been left to our own devices so long, people don’t know what those are. We’ve, basically become Catholic by nationality out here. A separate handbook is greatly needed, and this one is definitely a work in progress. Even after the work is done, it’s going to take education, education, and a lot more education, and I’m not just talking about the students.

Apparently the Rumor of Concerned Parents was Greatly Exaggerated!

I generally find that when one side is yelling, “It’s not Catholic enough!” and the other side is saying, “It’s way too Catholic!”, it’s juuuuuust right. This would seem to be the case in the teachers’ contract flap in San Francisco. It took almost a whole week for the “It’s way too Catholic!” side to get over their depression and make an attempt at a statement, while the “It’s not Catholic enough!” side seems to have theirs written before the contract was released.

I, for one, am celebrating! Is the litany of sins gone? Yep, but I’ve always thought this is way better, anyway. When you start getting into specifics, it gets harder to enforce it. You know – “I don’t use IVF, but I stand out on the sidewalk at Planned Parenthood on my days off and escort my students in. That’s not specifically listed in the contract!” There are endless ways people can deviate from a teaching of the Church. In San Francisco, the list is probably bigger than in many places.

Another issue to consider when some try to say, “Hey! This diocese does x, y and z. Why doesn’t San Francisco???”, is that San Francisco is dealing with a teachers’ union. Why they are unionized is a whole other issue, but they are. It makes contract changes a whole lot more complicated and messy. Thank goodness many of our bishops and archbishops don’t have to contend with a union! They also don’t have to deal with the money thrown at the PR machine, as Archbishop Cordileone has had to do.

Let’s look at the “Whereas” sections from the final contract, shall we? (I haven’t actually found the whole thing yet, and I’m pretty good with Google. If anyone has it, please send it to me!) I suspect that the below is the part that deals with morality, while the rest deals with wages, benefits, etc. (Emphasis mine.)

(http://www.sfarchdiocese.org/docs/default-source/media-items-2015/final-draft-agreement.pdf?sfvrsn=4)

2015-18 Collective Bargaining Agreement – Preamble Clauses on Catholic Education 

WHEREAS, the Union and its members recognize the unique nature of the Archdiocesan high school system in that it is Roman Catholic, committed to provide education within the framework of Catholic principles; that Catholic teachings and precepts shall remain paramount throughout the term of this Agreement; and that nothing in the Agreement shall be construed as interfering in any way with the Superintendent’s functions and duties insofar as they are canonical; and

So instead of spelling out specific Catholic teachings, we’re going with ALL of them. Yes!                                               

WHEREAS, the Union and its members recognize that all lay teachers covered by this Agreement shall perform all their duties as set forth in this Agreement in accordance with the doctrines and precepts of the Roman Catholic Church, and shall conduct themselves at all times during the performance of those duties in a manner in keeping with the standards of the Church; and

I’m reasonably sure I do not need to throw out the doctrines and precepts of the Roman Catholic Church again, but if you need a refresher, read my previous articles (especially if they have “Canon Law” in the title).

WHEREAS, the Parties to this agreement acknowledge that the purpose of Catholic schools is to affirm Catholic values through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to help students learn and develop their critical and moral faculties; and

You signed the contract. You have now officially agreed to affirm Catholic values, not those values according to you. 

WHEREAS, teachers are expected to support the purpose of our Catholic schools in such a way that their personal conduct will not adversely impact their ability to teach in our Catholic High Schools; and

This one is a biggie. Again, keep your wacky private life private! Once it becomes public, it affects your ability to teach Catholicism. 

WHEREAS, the Parties acknowledge that disputes about teacher conduct on and off the job are subject to the grievance procedure to determine whether such conduct has adversely impacted the teacher’s ability to teach in our Catholic High Schools.

Abi Basch (https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/magic-queer-powers/) saw the writing on the wall in this final summation. She had no intention to keep her private life private. Instead, she had every intention to indoctrinate the kids in anti-Catholic rhetoric. She left. She was smart (well, smarter than the average person who would use the phrase “magic queer powers”) and almost had some integrity, in that she moved to a school that would support her mission to make everyone approve of her lifestyle.

You know how I know this contract is a good thing? The people against Archbishop Cordileone are dejected. After five days of trying to figure out how to spin it, they could only rehash a couple old news points which they have repeatedly said don’t appease them, they threw out the words “draconian morality clause”, then they added this (http://www.donotlink.com/gg09):

There are still concerns, apparent in the substantial no vote, that the new contract language, though an improvement over the original proposal, could still be used to bypass federal and state employment anti-discrimination laws that protect teachers from being discriminated against based on age, race, gender, disability, and/or sexual orientation. Some teachers fear the new language could have a chilling effect in the classroom and adversely impact teachers’ ability to engender trust and to participate in the open exchange of ideas with students as they explore and develop their own sexual identity, attitudes and beliefs in a safe environment. The Archbishop’s actions have already led some teachers and families to leave our communities while other families have reconsidered sending their children to our high schools. [Emphasis mine.]

Remember Abi? That was one teacher, not “some”. Buh-bye! If you had the smallest shred of intellectually honesty and agreed with the so-called “Concerned Parents,” you’d forget the high academic standards and great sports teams at these four schools and put your kids in a like-minded place. If you’re a teacher, you’d go teach somewhere else. The fact is, there isn’t going to be a mass exodus. They were told three weeks ago that nothing was going to change from here on out, and lo and behold, the promised mass exodus didn’t materialize.

The fact is, parents want the good academics and sports programs that these schools supply, and the liberal rally cry to support the alternative “immorality clause” is falling on deaf ears. The parents know their kids will still be accepted no matter their private sins. It’s only going to affect the teachers who want to sell their sins to their students. It’s simply not worth the inconvenience to most parents, or most teachers for that matter.

We must remain vigilant.  As we move forward, we will hold the Archbishop to his assurances that there will be no “witch hunt” and insist the contract be construed in the positive manner in which it was presented to the membership for a vote, including protection of teachers’ privacy and employment rights. A strong coalition parents, students, alumnae, administrators, Catholics, legislators, labor and the broader community has stood with our teachers. We have put the Archbishop on notice that we are committed to preserve inclusive, welcoming, loving schools dedicated to the pursuit of truth, the highest standards of excellence in teaching and the safety of our children.

That verbal vomit basically says “Waaa!!! We didn’t get what we want!”  You’ve really got to laugh at the mafia sounding “notice” and the “pursuit of truth” comment. They set truth aside a long time ago!

Get it through your thick, little heads. If there was such a strong coalition, the teachers would be on strike right now. Your cause simply isn’t worth the pain to the majority of those involved. As the year progresses and most teachers continue keeping their private lives private, there will be no mass firings of teachers nor students leaving the school, and you will further lose what little coalition you have left.

She Did Not Just Say This: “I felt like I was doing ministry really well…”

This anti-Catholic hit piece is way too long (and I mean WAYYYY too long) to go over the whole thing, so I’m just going to hit the “highlights” (or rather, lowlights). Sadly there are many.  By the way, if your daughter is interested in the religious life, you might advise them to cross Sisters of Mercy off their list based on Margie Winters’ account of them. The aim of this article (http://www.donotlink.com/gano) is to make Ms. Winters a martyr for the Alphabet Soup cause against faithful bishops and archbishops like Archbishop Cordileone and Archbishop Chaput:

The Fired Lesbian Teacher Fighting Back Against the Catholic Church

<start excerpts here>

Until recently, Margie Winters was a devoted teacher at the Waldron Mercy Academy, a Roman Catholic elementary school in Philadelphia where she had served as director of Religious Education for eight years.

Winters was hired at Waldron Mercy in August 2007, three months after she married her longtime partner, Andrea Vettori.

Same-sex marriage is forbidden under the official teachings of the Church, so Winters was transparent with Waldron Principal Nell Stetser’s predecessor about her marriage during the hiring process.

So, right away we find out that Nell Stetser’s predecessor was totally wrong about hiring a person he/she knew to be unrepentantly violating Church teaching.

For nearly a decade at Waldron, Winters’s marriage never interfered with her commitment to teaching and serving as a member of the greater Catholic community.

Well, her marriage didn’t interfere in her mind, but reality is quite a bit different. You cannot publicly go against Church teachings without sending a message to those who find out about it.

It remained that way until this June, when Winters ran afoul of a religiously conservative parent at Waldron who was miffed after Winters rejected her proposal for a new sex-ed curriculum.

Oh, those mean ‘ol religiously conservative Catholics (AKA faithful Catholics) who want a good sex-ed program for their children. I’m going to guess they wanted something based on Theology of the Body, Humane Vitae or something of that vein? Ah, the horrors! What was that evil woman thinking when she proposed something like that?! She might have been thinking, “Hey, might be nice if something Catholic were taught to counter whatever the practicing lesbian is teaching!”

 “This parent was very upset with the school for having someone like me in a position to review the sexuality program,” Winters tells me. “She was opposed to my being in charge of teachers, in charge of curriculum, and involved in the religious formation of young children because of my marriage.”

Uh, yeah, I would be very upset, too! Why would a faithful Catholic want the person picking the sex-education program for their kid’s schools who was bucking the Church teachings on sex? Can you say “conflict of interest?”

After the letter reached the Archdiocese’s office in Philadelphia, Winters says, Waldron had little choice but to let her go. (She was given the option to resign, with the condition that she wouldn’t speak publicly about her departure. The school did not return requests for comment.) “If they refused to fire me, it would have jeopardized the school’s Catholic identity.”

At this point I’d like to clarify a few things. The school’s Catholic identity was already hurt, not just jeopardized, by having a teacher who was publicly contradicting the Church’s teaching on sex and marriage. I’m sure that Ms. Winters is talking about the actual approval by the local archbishop for the school to use the term “Catholic” to identify themselves. There’s no proof that the archbishop/diocese actually threatened to take away permission for them to use this term. In fact, the archdiocese has made more than one statement to the effect that this did not happen. Despite the fact that I would love to see that done more often, bishops tend to not want to use that as the first step to finding a resolution. They have WAY more patience than I will ever have! While I look at the destruction in the wake of such teachers, the bishops and archbishops also take into consideration the souls of ALL of those involved. We should all try to do the same.

In the two months since Winters was fired from Waldron on June 22, her ouster has become a lightning rod for the Catholic Church’s discrimination against LGBTQ members, with Winters emerging as an activist hero.

“It’s a huge honor and a big responsibility,” she tells me, sitting sideways on the couch in khaki shorts and a sleeveless button-up shirt.

Can you say “legend in her own mind?”

“It’s very humbling because it’s not like either Andrea or I sought this out in the past,” she adds of her suddenly-conferred hero status. “It began with a decision not to resign because I didn’t think it was right, and I think people see that as a stand. It has become a stand against the church at this point and it’s become a stand for the rights of LGBT folks.”

Read that again and let it soak in: “it has become a stand against the Church.” For once, thank you for your honesty. We agree, you are totally standing against Church teaching.

Ever since Winters was let go, parents and students at Waldron have rallied around her, devastated by her forced departure and determined to support her in any way they can.

And here’s where we see that it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. First of all, are we just going to ignore the parents and students who might not agree with her? How about fellow teachers? And then let’s talk support. Supposedly there’s overwhelming support, but let’s compare the support of a person who doesn’t want to supply flowers for a “gay wedding” to the cash that’s rolled in for Winters. You can’t. There is no comparison.

We’re supposed to believe that an overwhelming number of people are going to take the side of a teacher who works in a Catholic school over the right of the school to fire someone who’s contradicting the Catholic Faith?!? The reason the money isn’t flowing in full speed is because, despite how people feel about homosexuality and Catholicism, most Americans actually believe that a Catholic school has the right to promote authentic Catholicism. “Not my cup of tea but it is a Catholic school!” In short, they believe in the First Amendment.

When we meet, it’s easy to see why: Winters is warm and engaging, empathetic and even-tempered, with a gentle sense of humor and a patient attitude toward problem-solving. In short, she is the ideal elementary school teacher.

She doesn’t belabor her conflict with the parent who called for her to be fired, nor does she harbor any resentment.

Wait, there’s no resentment, but we’re still going after the diocese and the Archbishop? It’s just a little contrary. She might be a very sweet person, but people can be quite pleasant and still undermine the teachings of the Catholic Church. This was never about her being pleasant or unpleasant. It’s about her contradiction of the teachings of the Church which Waldron Mercy is supposed to espouse in word and in deed.

“It’s such a joyful place!” she enthuses. “It’s an amazing group of people who aren’t just committed to the faith, because we have non-Catholic families, but who are committed to the work of justice and peace and helping those who are less fortunate than they are.”

Screeeeech! To be committed to the Catholic Faith is all-encompassing! It’s not that we’re committed to the Faith or we’re committed to justice, peace and helping those less fortunate. It’s all of the above, which is why we’re supposed to be working toward “making disciples of all nations!” To be committed to the Catholic Faith is to be committed to all that is good. The problem here is not the people committed to the Faith. The problem is the people who put their wants in front of the Faith, which is exactly what’s going on here!

The two frequently finish each other’s sentences.

Well, by all means, let’s ditch the teachings of the Catholic Church because these two finish each other’s sentences!

Winters was studying at Gwynedd Mercy University when she had her first relationship with a woman and began to understand that she was a lesbian.

“It was a quiet piece of my identity,” she says, explaining that she was more focused on determining her identity in the Church and whether she was called to religious life.

Hon, if this wasn’t an overtly overarching move in your life, you’re really missing something. There was no quiet about it, and it hardly seems the Catholic Church was in the forefront of your thoughts. Not surprisingly, Gwynedd Mercy is supposedly a Catholic university. Epic fail on their part too? Maybe you should have spent more time discovering the identity of the Catholic Church than your identity in it. You can’t serve Him until you first know Him and love Him. I’m not sure you’ve ever gotten past the know part. It would seem more like you’ve formed Him into the image you would like Him to be. God formed us in his image, not the other way around.

It wasn’t until she fell in love with Vettori that she was really forced to confront that “quiet piece” of herself.

Just an aside, you don’t simply fall in love with someone. If you did, you’d just as easily fall out of love with them. Love is a choice you make. You made a choice.

And this is where the article really starts to turn ugly…

The two were in their early 30s when they met while studying with the Sisters of Mercy in Philadelphia, a community of women in the Catholic Church that welcomes Church members to live with them as they discern whether they are called to a religious life—one of celibacy and devotion to serving God’s people—or the life of a layperson.” Winters and Vettori were both still in the discernment process when they became friends, then quickly realized there was something more between them.

Does anyone notice what she left out? Anyone? How about the word chastity? Celibacy and chastity are not the same thing. It sounds like the sisters might want to focus a bit more on the formation of the virtue of chastity.

But falling in love didn’t lead them to make impulsive decisions as it often does for the rest of us. And neither Winters nor Vettori felt they had to hide their feelings from the Sisters.

“The Sisters were very open-minded, very progressive,” says Vettori. “Their hope was that we would obviously take vows and be Sisters for life with the community, but they enter into that process knowing that we might walk away at any time.”

“And we knew that they could encourage us to leave,” Winters adds. “Part of the process is coming to a mutual discernment with the community. And the Sisters feel it’s part of their mission to help form young women.”

Gag! So, it may or may not be true, but Winters and Vettori seem to be saying that the Sisters of Mercy think lesbianism is just peachy, the discernment for lesbians to stay in or leave the community is just part of their mission to help form young women, and they never told these two – who were really living in a near occasion of sin – that the Sisters of Mercy or religious life might just not be for them?!? Where does the formation come in?

Everything changed for both women when they joined the Sisters of Mercy.

“The irony is that I didn’t know myself fully as a sexual person until I entered the community,” she says.

For some, this may evoke images of women sneaking into each other’s rooms in the middle of the night, breaking vows of celibacy and rebelling against the Church’s repression of sexuality.

But it was the opposite for Winters and Vettori.

Just for them? How about the rest of the crew? Ugh! Make it stop! They’re essentially saying that the Sisters of Mercy propelled them into the lesbian lifestyle!

The process of entering religious life with the Sisters of Mercy led them to develop not just a greater understanding of their relationship to God, but a greater understanding and acceptance of who they were.

OK, I’m just going to object here and say, no way, no how, did they have a greater understanding of their relationship with God. As I said earlier, they’ve made God into what they wanted him to be, not who He is!

Still, it would be a long time before they got together. Six months after their friendship was no longer platonic, Vettori moved to St. Louis to enter the novitiate (a part of the process of religious formation). They both felt they had to go through the discernment process separately before they could consider committing to each other.

Please note, the sisters, who they didn’t hide their feelings from, never pushed the “pause” button on the process.

Margie vividly remembers the moment when she knew her discernment process was over.

“I was leading the community in song—‘Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear’—and looking out at them when this sense of freedom came to me,” she recalls, her voice suddenly thick with emotion. “For me, receiving the freedom from them to just be who I am was the last piece.”” “But with that freedom came tremendous loss.

“These were women that I grew up with in the Church. I really felt called to follow their path and then suddenly I decided it wasn’t the path for me.”

Finally, we have some agreement here! She was definitely not called to the religious life. That said, she is called to freedom, but she hasn’t found true freedom yet. She’s simply found a reality of her own making.

So, a few observations: I seem to recall somewhere along the way hearing “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Who was that again? Oh, yeah. It was Christ. (Matthew 16:24) Also, our Church teaches:

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm

So, there’s that whole chastity thing. It’s really sad for these ladies that the Sisters of Mercy apparently didn’t bother to mention it to them.

Both Winters and Vettori have kept in touch with the Sisters of Mercy, in part because the Sisters have left their door open to laypeople in the Church. In doing so they’ve demonstrated how progressive they have become.

The generation before Winters and Vettori wouldn’t have maintained any relationship with the Sisters after choosing the path of a layperson. They would have been shepherded “out the back door in the middle of the night, the whole thing shrouded in secrecy,” says Vettori.

I have no idea quite what they’re getting at here. Not quite sure I want to know.

Now, Winters is once again mourning a loss, though this time the door has been closed indefinitely.

“It feels like a death,” she says. “I felt like I was doing ministry really well at Waldron. That was the direction my life had taken and where I had grown professionally and hoped to continue to grow. So to have that stopped dead is a huge loss.”

Wait just a minute! Please, ladies and gentlemen, draw your attention to this phrase. With this statement, Margie just gave a HUGE headache to the crew in San Francisco who are protesting Archbishop Cordileone. She’s likely just shot any legal case she thought she may have had in the foot, too. She just admitted that her position was a ministry!!! If you hear a deafening “Noooooooooo!” from the West Coast, that’s what it’s all about. It’s not something the rest of us don’t already know, but it is something some would like to remain hidden. To catch up on why that’s so important, please see https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/the-archbishop-vs-the-red-herrings/.  The crew out here hangs everything on the hope SCOTUS doesn’t consider teachers ministers (even though a few of them already mentioned they do).

Moving on… What is your definition of “really well?” Having a grand professional life? Molding kids to your warped image of reality? Are you championing the teachings of the Church or are you teaching the kids to ignore it by your example? We certainly have a different definition of “really well.”

“I could have resigned and gotten whatever benefits came with that, but that would have implied that the teachings around same-sex marriage in the Church are right, and I really don’t think they are informed by people like Andrea and I who are in committed, loving relationships while serving the Church.”

And there you have it! They don’t think the teachings of the Church are right in regards to them. It always comes down to ME, doesn’t it? She also lays out her mission with Andrea. They want to inform (and really, in the case of the students, form).

Winters could give up now, too, knowing that she likely won’t be able to teach in the Church again unless the Church changes its attitude toward same-sex marriage.

Thanks for pointing out another Sisters of Mercy and Gwynedd Mercy  failure. It’s not the Church’s “attitude toward same-sex marriage.” It’s called DOCTRINE! How is it the sisters never explained this to you?

“When this first happened a lot of parents encouraged us to go after the archbishop [of Philadelphia],” says Vettori. “Even if we persuaded him to change his mind, we could have a different archbishop next month. And then we’d be back at square one. It’s the thinking and the policies of the Church that really need to change.”

It’s DOCTRINE, DOCTRINE, DOCTRINE. It wouldn’t matter which archbishop changed his mind (although you’re quite correct, Archbishop Chaput always follows Doctrine), it’s still the perennial teaching of the Church.

New Ways Ministry, a Catholic organization that advocates for reconciliation between the LGBTQ community and the official Church teachings, has compiled a list of people who have been affected—many of them fired from their jobs—because of the Church’s policies against same-sex relationships. Winters is the 53rd person on that list.

Uh, help!  Talk about an organization with no Catholic identity!  That would be New Ways Ministry!  http://www.usccb.org/news/2010/10-028.cfm

“The Church is losing good people,” she says. “I’ve been in Catholic education for 18 years and I’m committed to it. But they’ve fired us and lost people who are committed to teaching children in the faith because of who we are—because of who God made us to be. That’s the rub.”

The Church is losing good people??? Really? This is your argument? Do you remember a little thing called “The Reformation”? All sorts of people walked away over that one. It doesn’t make the Truth of the Church any less right. They’re still Truth. Remember all of the people who walked away from Christ, particularly when he foretold the Sacrifice of the Eucharist in John 6? Maybe he should have just changed his teaching for them.

They both worry about Catholic children who are struggling with their own sexual identity in school, and the message Winters’s firing sends them.

“It tells them they’re not worthy to teach in a Catholic school because of who they are,” says Vettori. “That they’re less than a full person in the Church and therefore less in the eyes of God. That’s the real horror in all of this.”

…and let’s parade the children out again, will you? If you bothered to show them Church teaching, they’d know their intrinsic value and the love the Church has for them. Please stop using them as pawns for your non-Catholic agenda.

Winters is now working with various organizations advocating for change within the Church: Dignity USA, a group that advocates for the rights of LGBTQ members in the Church, and the progressive organization Call to Action have both reached out to her.

Gee, there’s a shocker.

This week, Winters and dozens of her supporters arrived at the archbishop’s office in Center City with a petition signed by more than 22,000 people calling for “a moratorium on the firing of LGBT employees.”

Wow! A whopping 22,000 people out of almost 70,000,000 Catholics in America? The Church should be really scared now.

The petition was orchestrated by Faithful America, a Christian social justice organization, and calls for the archbishop to “ask Catholic schools before he gets involved with the hiring or firing of staff, in particular their gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual staff.”

Holy cow! Has Faithful America bothered to ever take a look at Canon Law? Uh, hello! Archbishop Chaput isn’t merely a figurehead.

Winters and Vettori are looking forward to the pope’s U.S. visit in September, and they hope to convince him to enact a moratorium on discriminatory firings.

Good luck with that. “Holy Father, can you please tell your bishops to tone down that whole Catholic thing in the Catholic schools?”

There are different ways that people form their personal theology, but it’s often either theologically formed or it’s experiential. And he’s experience. He meets people and he allows them to inform what he’s learned about theology,” says Vettori. “We know that if he met us and got to know us, I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t influence his theology.

Big. Huge. Facepalm! They really, really don’t get it, do they?

“That’s why a lot of what we’re saying is, Give us a place at your table,” Winters adds. “Talk to us. Meet us. Understand us. And let that inform your teaching.”

Great! Now, what God is saying is that you have a place at the table, but it’s HIS table. You don’t set it. You don’t choose the menu. You don’t get to choose who sits where, etc., etc., etc.

I just really feel sad for these ladies and their groupies. They’ve all just been so misled for so long. I honestly don’t think all of them are megalomaniacs. These ladies seem pleasant enough, but some who hold the same beliefs are megalomaniacs, and they just egg on the confused and uneducated.

Our Church is so beautiful and rich and is so willing to help us on our way. It’s so sad that people take such an adversarial view of it. Of course, many haven’t delved into it too much in the past 40+ years. There are just so many people running around thriving on the conflict when they really could be at true peace.

I hope many more will find out how much the Church truly loves them as the Catholics in this movie have: http://www.blackstonefilms.org/thethirdway/. I thank them for their efforts in educating their fellow Catholics in a way that the Sisters of Mercy have failed to do for these women.

Magic Queer Powers!

Hoo boy! I just couldn’t let the week go by without commenting on a letter from the now former Sacred Heart Cathedral teacher, Abi Basch (https://donotlink.com/medium.com/synapse/why-students-need-lgbt-teachers-and-allies-9eec4e5f2462). While reading it, my first thought is, “Yeah, none of these teachers have an agenda and all just want to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church.” (I almost typed all that with a straight face!) Basch is the epitome of what’s wrong in the SF Archdiocesan Schools right now. I actually applaud her for being honest, for once, although she simply should have left because her ideologies clash with the teachings of the school she is supposed to represent. She clearly made no effort to teach her students about the Catholic Church, nor, as you can see from Hugh’s letter found at the link above, did she make an effort to correct his misconceptions of Church teachings.

From Basch’s letter:

Yes it’s true — I am leaving SHC and moving to Los Angeles to teach at the Buckley School.

(By the way, Basch is also the person who registered the infamous teachacceptance.org domain name. Hon, since you are leaving, can I have it now so I can put it out of its misery?)

Also true — I am doing it in large part because I do not want to work without state and federal workplace discrimination protections that most Californians enjoy. And another truth — I AM LGBT. Now that I do not work for Archbishop Cordileone, I can say to my students, their families, my colleagues — without fear of losing my job: I am not only your ally. I understand your magic queer powers and the dangers you face when others fear their might — because I have them too.

Look out for those magic queer powers, people! This kind of bizarre quote is one reason people like me are opposed to teachers like her. No, we don’t want the phrase “magic queer powers” used in the classroom by our social studies teachers. Does somebody really think there’s a problem with that objection? I mean, really, this is one of the voices of a supposed movement and we get, “They’re scared of our magic queer powers!” It’s just, well, sad.

 Hugh Mac Neill — you wrote me such a beautiful open letter for the #teachacceptance Phil Ting hearing yesterday — thank you for letting me post it here. (Everyone read it! You will cry, I promise.)

Oh, you’ll cry alright. Not a single word about the Faith except to misquote it. No mention of God. The only person ever on a cross to this young man is Miss Basch.

I am so proud of you for being who you are and standing up for justice. I am moved by all of my students and colleagues, the parents (!!!) and gay and civil rights activists that have rallied around the #teachacceptance cause. I have learned boundless amounts from you. You have taught me about integrity and strength, and made me a better, fiercer, more compassionate human.

Lady, you just used the term “magic queer powers”. If that’s fierce and compassionate, you’ve missed some part of history in your “social studies” education.

I am grateful to SHC for the many ways it has tried to protect its LGBT population, even in the face of pressures from the Arch. And I am very much looking forward to being at Buckley, where my sexual orientation and experience fighting for social justice have been not only welcomed but celebrated. My love and support will continue with all of you.

Give me a break! You’ve all been whipped into a frenzy, but you are the one who has created pressures. Clearly, you just wanted to bring your “cause” into the classroom of a school which was established by a Church innately opposed to your efforts because she cares about souls. Not quite sure if you believe in souls and an eternal afterlife, Miss Basch, but your employer does. So, please, toddle off to corrupt young souls elsewhere with your lack of knowledge or conviction of the Catholic Faith, just don’t do it in a Catholic school. That has been the point all along. If you have an agenda, go to a place that welcomes it. Don’t expect to rail against an employer and have that employer give you the thumbs up!

You had a perfect “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in place, Miss Basch, but that’s not what you wanted. You wanted to openly undermine the teachings of the employer for whom you worked. I suppose this isn’t totally your fault. You and your ilk got away with it for so long because nobody ever seemed to care quite enough about the eternal souls of the children in the diocese. Clearly, Archbishop Cordileone does because he’s willing to go through hell to ensure these students are going to receive the One True Faith instead of the watered down version they’ve clearly been receiving up until now. Thank you, Archbishop Cordileone, for leading our Church through these difficult times.

NcR – National catholic Reporter

Anyone else getting tired of the endless whining from NcR? (Note the small “c”. That’s how I’m going to abbreviate the National catholic Reporter from now on thanks to a reader’s suggestion. It’s only fitting.) They must have noticed that there hasn’t been much posted as of late, so they put this out to keep the story “fresh” in peoples’ minds. Here’s the same story (their version of “fresh”), only the dates have changed (http://www.donotlink.com/modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/the-archbishop-versus-the-teachers). Prepare for an onslaught of rehashed articles from NcR in the next 21 days as the final deadline approaches for the teachers’ contracts to be signed.

Just a short recap from reality: Archbishop Cordileone hasn’t caved on Catholic identity as liberals would like him to do. The end.

Along with typical requests for higher wages, better retirement fund allowances, lower healthcare costs, and preservation of the current tenure system, the union continued to fight what has been its biggest battle yet: preventing new language in the employee contract that would deem all teachers ministers. It’s a semantic change, but one that would strip roughly 250 diocesan educators of their current legal rights as teachers and leave them vulnerable to arbitrary dismissal. After more than four hours of discussion, the negotiations ended at a standstill—as usual. “It was pretty fruitless, to be perfectly honest,” says Paul Hance, a social studies teacher at Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo and one of two union representatives appointed by the school. “This thing has been a nightmare.”

So, why, pray tell, are we trying repeatedly to get the Archbishop to cave on Catholicism in the Catholic schools? That will continue to be a fruitless battle. Can’t you just accept the fact that Archbishop Cordileone isn’t going to cave to your threats? He will continue to reclaim Catholic identity in the schools under his care, and he will protect the children of the school from anti-Catholic messaging as much as humanly possible. Bam! We’re done. You can sign the contracts or not sign them, the choice is yours. I’m sorry you haven’t run into a faithful Catholic Bishop willing to care for souls up until now, but here he is!

The Archdiocese of San Francisco oversees the operations of 74 elementary, middle, and high schools across Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties. Many of these schools are free to hire, fire, and educate as they please. But the archdiocese exerts executive control over the region’s four diocesan high schools—Serra, Kentfield’s Marin Catholic High School, and Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory and Archbishop Riordan High School in San Francisco—and their nearly 3,700 students. At these schools, the whims of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone are most keenly felt.

Seriously – whims? Get a clue. I guess they’d consider Christ to have died on a cross on a whim. I’m so sorry that you have been so poorly educated that you wouldn’t know the Catholic Faith if Our Lord came down and explained it to you Himself, but it’s hardly a whim. It’s THE FAITH. It’s not the world according to you.

Pushback from students, parents, and educators regarding the staunchly conservative archbishop’s plans has been well documented by local and national media (even the San Francisco Board of Supervisors rejected Cordileone’s proposed morality clause via a nonbinding resolution). For the most part, the issue has been framed as a revolt against a reactionary clergyman by liberal Catholics who feel that Cordileone’s labeling of same-sex marriage, birth control, and in vitro fertilization as “gravely evil” contradicts their values as post–Vatican II believers. In reality, however, far more is at stake, and the conflict stretches well past questions of Catholic doctrine. Owing to a potent 2012 decision by the United States Supreme Court on ministerial exception, those nearly 250 local teachers are on the edge of a vast legal gray area—one that may swallow them whole before the new school year begins.

All those who believe that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors rejection of Archbishop Cordileone’s morality clause has any bearing on the Catholic Church’s teachings, please raise your hand? I am a “post-Vatican II” believer and the term “gravely evil” doesn’t contradict my values in the least! Why? Well, that would probably be because I actually BELIEVE in the teachings of the Catholic Church. Same-sex marriage, IVF, and artificial birth control ARE GRAVELY EVIL! Deal with it! Thank you so much, NcR, for not actually saying that the Archbishop has called anyone gravely evil. First dose of reality I’ve seen come out of this publication in a long, long time. Now, if they could only come all the way over and acknowledge that Archbishop Cordileone was quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, wouldn’t that be nice? As I’ve pointed out before (https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/the-archbishop-vs-the-red-herrings/), the use of “ministers” matters not.

The morning after that June 17 round of unsuccessful negotiations, Sacred Heart religious and social studies teacher Sal Curcio ambles into Java Beach Café near Ocean Beach toting a stack of legal documents, petitions, and rejected collective bargaining agreements. “I have three folders like this one,” he says, admitting that he had to buy an iPhone after “all this started” to help him keep track of the various components involved. “It’s horrendous,” he says with a pained look. “It’s as if we’re negotiating with a gun to our head.”

Three folders AND an iPhone just to keep track of the fact that the Catholic Church is Catholic? That mean ol’ Archbishop put a gun to his head and made him get an iPhone. Shucks, I suppose the Archbishop also put a gun to his head and made him work at a Catholic school? He probably made him go to Java Beach Café, too. Give me a break! The drama is unfounded. Sorry, the Archbishop is one of the nicest guys around. It might play well to the liberals who don’t know him, but the arch-villain persona given to him is wasted on anyone who has actually met him or heard his homilies or talks. He’s not inflicting his version of the Faith onto these “poor teachers”. He’s teaching THE Faith in the same manner as all the Popes I can remember. He’s being a father to them, and that means speaking the truth even if they don’t want to hear it. Rather than a comic book scenario, people might want to compare this situation to the good father with the rebellious teen. That’s the reality.

Curcio rattles off cases across the country in which teachers redefined as “ministers” have been dismissed without recourse: the Catholic school teacher in Fort Wayne, Indiana, who was fired after undergoing in vitro fertilization; the tenured religious studies professor at Lexington Theological Seminary who was fired for being Jewish; the high school gym teacher in Columbus, Ohio, who was fired after her mother’s obituary listed the teacher’s female partner as a survivor; and, most notably, the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision against Cheryl Perich, a teacher at a Lutheran grade school in Michigan who was fired for being narcoleptic—in direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The decision was upheld unanimously by the court: “Having concluded that there is a ministerial exception grounded in the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment, we consider whether the exception applies in this case,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts. “We hold that it does.”

Again, I’ve already dealt the Perich case before (https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/the-archbishop-vs-the-red-herrings/), but people really need to ask this question: Why in the world do we have to know which teachers are using IVF, marrying their same-sex partners, using artificial birth control, etc.? Believe me, no faithful Catholic wants to know the intimate details of someone else’s sex life! Keep your private life private, please, and there’s no problem. Heck, the dear Sisters of Mercy, in the latest firing, told their lesbian teacher just that, and she agreed! Once it became public that she had “married” her same-sex partner, she was publicly contradicting the faith (AKA publicly undermining the Faith).

Support of marriage equality and LGBT rights, use of birth control, and undergoing in vitro fertilization can all become firing offenses.

Oh, my gosh! Right! If someone teaching at a Catholic school is publicly contradicting the Faith and, after counsel, continues in that action, they would then be thumbing their nose at the Faith. Undermining the Faith SHOULD be a firing offense in an organization whose goal is to teach people that sinning is bad and a danger to their soul. DUH!

In his attempt to make the diocesan high schools’ curricula more Christ-centered, Cordileone has enlisted Melanie Morey, the former provost of St. Patrick’s Seminary & University in Menlo Park, to head the newly created Office of Catholic Identity Assessment. In a PowerPoint presentation given to teachers in February, Morey stressed that Catholic teaching should now be present in every academic subject; she suggested integrating religion into mathematics, for example, by comparing the solving of linear equations to communicating with Jesus. While the concept was largely laughed off by teachers, its message was all too clear: Start proselytizing to students—or risk your job. Curcio acknowledges that a handful of teachers have already left for other schools and that some families are looking to send their kids elsewhere.

Proselytizing??? Wouldn’t that mean transmitting the Faith? Well, to the sane, I think it would. Does this sound familiar, Mr. Curio?!

803 §2. The instruction and education in a Catholic school must be grounded in the principles of Catholic doctrine; teachers are to be outstanding in correct doctrine and integrity of life.

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P2N.HTM

A majority of the teachers nationwide who have been fired under ministerial exception were dismissed for marrying someone of the same sex, using in vitro fertilization, or having sex outside of marriage. Curcio, however, points out that employers needn’t give a rationale. “It could be an undisclosed reason,” he says. “What if I just don’t like you?” Across the country, ministerial employees have been fired for reporting possible sexual assault, for helping coworkers file harassment claims, and for having a disabling condition. While much of the local uproar has focused on whether or not people who work at Catholic schools must adhere to Catholic principles, Curcio says that the real argument is much more basic. “Does a religious employer have the right to be above the law? That’s the crux of the question here.”

Umm, hello! We’re talking about Catholic schools here.  How about you provide some examples of all those teachers who have been fired in Catholic schools for “I just don’t like you”? Which law states that Catholic school teachers can’t be fired for undermining the Catholic Faith?  The crux is this: Do Catholic schools have the right to be Catholic? It ain’t the Perich case. Mr. Curcio, you might want to actually read the opinions of the justices. Since I doubt you’ll go through the trouble, here’s what Alito and Kagan said:

When it comes to the expression and inculcation of religious doctrine, there can be no doubt that the messenger matters. Religious teachings cover the gamut from moral conduct to metaphysical truth, and both the content and credibility of a religion’s message depend vitally on the character and conduct of its teachers. A religion cannot depend on someone to be an effective advocate for its religious vision if that person’s conduct fails to live up to the religious precepts that he or she espouses. For this reason, a religious body’s right to self-governance must include the ability to select, and to be selective about those who will serve as the very “embodiment of its message” and “its voice to the faithful. Petruska v. Gannon Univ., 462 F. 3d 294, 306 (CA3 2006).” https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/the-archbishop-vs-the-red-herrings/

Did that hurt, Mr. Curcio? The Supreme Court reiterated similar things in the very case you cited on “ministers”.

It’s something that Leslie Griffin bangs her head into all too often. A law professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Griffin is an expert on constitutional law and has unofficially instructed the San Francisco diocesan teachers union on ministerial exception (the union is formally represented by a local labor lawyer, Stewart Weinberg, who declined to comment on the ongoing negotiations). Griffin says that since the 2012 Supreme Court ruling on ministerial exception, teachers across the country have been placed in a precarious position. California law, she points out, requires private employers to respect the privacy rights of employees. “It shouldn’t be possible that in San Francisco, discrimination against gays and lesbians is legal under religious freedom. That’s not legal under California law,” she says.

The archdiocese, Griffin continues, has entered into a strange legal realm where the law that applies to everybody else doesn’t seem to matter. “Most Americans think that if you have a job and you get mistreated, you can go to court and sue,” notes Griffin. But because ministerial exception is an affirmative defense ratified by the Supreme Court, potential plaintiffs in discrimination lawsuits are prevented from even attempting a legal rejoinder: “You lose your day in court.”

She actually seems to get that the Supreme Court is not on their side. Now if she could only get this through to the rest of them, all of us might move on. Religious Freedom means that the Church doesn’t have to put up with teachers in Catholic schools undermining the Faith. What a concept!

One day after the mid-June stalemate, Cordileone wrote letters to Representative Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) in support of their proposed First Amendment Defense Act. The legislation, if passed, would prevent the federal government from penalizing religious institutions for making decisions based on opposition to same-sex marriage and sex before marriage.

Are we all chanting “Cardinal Cordileone! Cardinal Cordileone!” yet?! You should be! #cardinalcordileone

Crucial to this struggle is the fact that a contract doesn’t even need to include the word “minister” to effectively relabel teachers as such. The most recent version of the archdiocese’s proposed contract in fact excised the controversial word, but union lawyers insist that teachers would still be held to—and potentially fired due to—ministerial exception law. It all depends upon whether the archdiocese can claim that teaching at its schools constitutes ministerial work: an intriguing concept in light of Melanie Morey’s math lessons on “graphing lines and relating to Christ.”

It’s like they finally read my blog! Whether or not “minister” is in there means nothing. There’s no re-labeling going on. The Archdiocese of San Francisco doesn’t have to claim anything. The Supreme Court already has, and it was a rather big “Duh! Of course teachers can be considered ministers!”

Many current teachers predict that if the San Francisco archdiocese pulls this off, they will be subject to arbitrary dismissal. They question, however, whether the church will be able to replace them with local educators willing to be ministers. It may be a tall order: Several hundred teachers used to attend the yearly archdiocesan hiring fair. But, say teachers and parents, this spring only a few dozen showed up.

Again, that’s just silly. The Church and the Archbishop don’t arbitrarily do anything. Should he “pull it off,” I don’t see mass firings.  That certainly wasn’t the case in Oakland. However, should the teachers’ decide to air their sins en masse and cause grave scandal, I can pretty much guarantee the Archbishop will have faithful teachers lining up to teach for him, because they won’t fear persecution by their fellow teachers in San Francisco anymore. Right now, the liberal teachers don’t want to work for him and the faithful teachers are just waiting to see if one of their favorite bishops will be able to protect them. It would be a faithful Catholic teacher’s dream to teach for Archbishop Cordileone!

Despite the public outcry against Cordileone’s plan, few in the world of local Catholic education were surprised he took this route. Just last year a similar fight played out at the Diocese of Oakland, where Bishop Michael Barber altered the employee contract to require teachers to model Catholic moral teachings in their private lives. While a handful of teachers quit and public outrage was displayed on the local news channels, ultimately the diocese won.

Barber’s relationship with his parishioners wasn’t as frayed as Cordileone’s is, and he sat down with educators in attempts to come to a compromise. Cordileone has been present only twice during negotiations in San Francisco. But the most crucial difference, and one that distinguishes San Francisco’s ongoing dispute from similar cases across the country, is that the teachers in Oakland don’t have a union. Kathleen Purcell, who taught at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland and was fired after crossing out the morality clause on her contract, says that the quashing of the nonunionized teachers’ concerns set the tone for San Francisco’s current fight: “Once Oakland happened, [the Archbishop of] San Francisco started to get ready. They had a lead time.” San Francisco’s teachers, in fact, feel that Cordileone is making the play he has long desired to make: These are the first contract negotiations to come after the 2012 Supreme Court ruling. “I think he’s planned this exactly the way he wanted it to go,” says one teacher, speaking anonymously owing to fears regarding job security. “He knows the timing on everything here.”

Please! San Francisco and Oakland are worlds apart. That’s really the difference. The people in the largely suburban Diocese of Oakland aren’t quite as haughty as to take out full-page ads against their bishop. They definitely have their fair share of liberals, but they’ve had twelve years and three consecutive faithful bishops who have done great things. San Francisco is just in shock and frantic.

What the school year will look like come the fall remains undetermined. During a nearly nine-hour July 1 negotiating session, tentative agreements were reached regarding tenure and healthcare. But barring an unforeseen détente on ministerial exception, teachers’ contracts will expire on July 31. The notion of a strike is hardly far-fetched, but teachers hope that overwhelming public support for labor laws and LGBT issues will provide leverage before it comes to that. “San Francisco is a pretty big union town; we’ve got tons of support,” says Joe Hession, Serra’s other union representative.

The Supreme Court has told you how it’s going to go, guys. The Catholic Church is a pretty big universal organization, if you haven’t noticed. The “union town” has nothing on our 2,000+ years of resisting people like you. If you think we won’t back Archbishop Cordileone all the way to the Supreme Court, you are a bit daft.

But for many teachers, the uphill battle has already become the biggest burden of their career, and it may be just beginning. “This isn’t an overstatement: The entire nation is watching this,” says Sal Curcio. “If the archbishop can break a union in San Francisco—or render it useless by pushing an agenda that takes away the rights of teachers and also hurts the students—then they can do this everywhere.”

It’s not about breaking the union. It’s about retaining Catholic identity and Religious Freedom. The Church certainly isn’t saying you can’t have a union AND Catholic identity and Religious Freedom. You can. You are quite right about one thing, though, Mr. Curcio: the entire nation is watching. The amazing, faithful, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is leading the nation from San Francisco. He is leading us in traditional marriage, Religious Freedom, Catholic identity, and protecting our youth from those who would try to steal their souls. The Church in America is depending on him, and we need to constantly remember him in our prayers. I also have no problem praying that he will, one day, be Cardinal Cordileone right here in the area where so many are watching.